Monday, December 13, 2010

A Ray of Light in the British Darkness

These are dark days for Christianity in the United Kingdom. A liberal Catholic hierarchy at odds with the pope makes the Catholic faithful restless. The Church of England is in decline under the dithering leadership of a liberal who refuses to face up to the fact that his liberalism is going to destroy any chance the Communion had of holding substantially together. Only smaller, ethnic churches are growing and they fly under the radar. In public life multiculturalism, cultural Marxism and atheism drive public morals lower and lower. Christians are being arrested for witnessing to their faith. Homosexuals and jihadists have more rights than Christians. You can be arrested for political incorrectness as defined by the far left. Economically, Labor has nearly destroyed the economy and politically even the "Conservatives" won't question EU membership even as the EU idol itself begins to totter.

No, things are not well. Every year that goes by Britain seems less and less like the glorious Britain that gave the world so much and more and more like the fringe of an undemocratic, fiscally leaky, ahistorical Europe on the verge of collapse. Only the prospect of the EU as a "United States of Europe" playing a leading role on the world stage sustains hope in the breast of European secularists. As this idol topples, however, expect complete and utter cultural collapse as the ruling class has nothing left but nihilism. And without creature comforts deriving from economic prosperity, nihilism is no fun.

Yet, in the midst of all this gloom, every once and a while a ray of light breaks through and the spirit of old, Christian England shines through briefly. So it was recently in a courtroom in Birmingham where a conservative, old-school judge ruled against the incipient police state and in favor of individual liberties and freedom of speech and religion. As Virtue Online reports:
An autistic Christian street preacher who was handcuffed and arrested for speaking out against homosexuality and many other sins has been awarded £4,250 in damages following a court case against West Midlands Police.

In a case backed by The Christian Institute, Birmingham County Court ruled on Wednesday that PC Adrian Bill committed assault and battery against Mr Anthony Rollins when he handcuffed him unnecessarily.

The court also ruled that Mr Rollins was wrongfully arrested, unlawfully detained and his human rights to free speech and religious liberty were infringed. The court ordered the police to pay Mr Rollins' legal costs.

Civil liberty

Mr Rollins suffers from Asperger's syndrome - a disorder that causes difficulties in social interaction. He was represented in court by Hugh Tomlinson QC, a respected civil liberty lawyer and joint author of the leading practitioner textbooks on human rights law and on civil actions against the police.

On 24 June 2008 Mr Rollins was preaching from the King James Bible in Birmingham city centre. He expressed his Christian belief that homosexual conduct is morally wrong.

A member of the public, Mr John Edwards, objected to Mr Rollins' message and shouted "homophobic bigot" before calling 999 and asking for the police. Two officers arrived on the scene and PC Adrian Bill arrested Mr Rollins without further inquiry. Handcuffs were placed on Mr Rollins even though he was calm and compliant.


Mr Rollins was detained at a police station for over three hours. He was never interviewed for his version of events. He was charged with a breach of Section 5 of the Public Order Act - a law that has been criticised by Parliament's Joint Committee on Human Rights for jeopardising free speech. The charges were later dropped before trial.

Mr Rollins made a complaint about the police action to the Independent Police Complaints Commission, but they failed to uphold the complaint. In a civil action supported by The Christian Institute, Mr Rollins sued West Midlands Police for wrongful arrest, unlawful imprisonment, assault and battery, and infringement of his human rights. He won on all counts.
"He won on all counts." How sweet is liberty! But even better than the outcome, which is a matter of simple English justice, is the bluntness with which the judge upbraided the sleepy, spineless, politically correct but legally incorrect police:
Giving his ruling the judge, Lance Ashworth QC, criticised the arresting officer, PC Bill. The judge said PC Bill had made the arrest "as a matter of routine without any thought being given to Mr. Rollins' Convention Rights [to free speech and religious liberty]." The judge said PC Bill's decision to arrest Mr Rollins showed "a lack of thoughtfulness".


The judge also said that PC Bill's demeanour in the court was negative and evasive. He added that the police conduct was incompatible with Mr Rollins' human rights to free speech and religious liberty.

The judge also criticised Mr Edwards, the man who originally phoned the police. Mr Edwards had appeared in court as a witness for the police. The judge said: "I was not impressed by Mr. Edwards as a witness. He struck me as a man, full of his own self-importance, who in the witness box relished the attention and greatly embellished his evidence." The judge added that "in every respect where his evidence is at odds with the evidence of other witnesses I reject it".

Mr Rollins told the court how it felt to be arrested, handcuffed and marched away by the police. He said he felt "anxious, shocked and very humiliated". Mr Rollins told the court that he tried to talk to PC Bill following the arrest, but was told to "shut it, you will get your say in the police station". However, he was never interviewed.
The arresting officer was "PC Bill." You just can't make up stuff like that.

What the police did was not unusual for contemporary Britain, but the police are not used to running up against Judge Lance Ashworth. Their illiberal, illegal, politically-correct mockery of enforcing the law ran into a judicial buzzsaw this time. But they will be back. There are not many Judge Ashworths left on the bench. Most are liberal judicial activists who are determined to extinguish English liberty in pursuit of their dream of Marxist equality.

But for one glorious day, a ray of light from the past broke into plain sight and it was enough to sustain hope in the breast of a freedom-loving man for a lifetime. God bless the good judge. The God who raises up the weak and casts down tyrants knows who belongs to Him.

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